Friendly Reminder About Calling in for Approach

Hey everyone,
Hope you’re all staying healthy and home. With the amount of traffic this past week significantly increasing, as my other thread got closed I wanted to post a reminder of something many pilots have done wrong, including those with IFC in their display names.
Please only call into approach when you are at or below 18000 feet AGL 50nm or less from the airport. Way too many people have been calling in too far out, or above the airport at FL360. Sure, with an intricate FPL, it may make it hard to see really how far away you are from the airport, so just make your best guess if you can. We’re not going to penalize you if you’re a few NM off. This makes it easier for your controllers, for you, and other pilots.
Thank you! As always, if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask.

EDIT: If you see that there is a busy approach line to the airport, feel free to call in further, as long as you are at an appropriate altitude. Thanks everyone!


Thanks for the reminder!

Thanks - given I have a pattern like approach into FACT on my FPL - I’ll probably tune in when my ‘Dist to Dest’ is 60-70nm…


Yes, in scenarios like that where the ATC has an established long approach line it wouldn’t hurt to call in a bit early, as long as you’re still at an appropriate altitude.


Yup will make sure I am at 18000ft :)

@RTG113 MaxSez: The ATC Manual states;
10.4.3… “Aircraft can Contact Radar up to 65nm Out from Airport Reference Point”! You note 50nm or less! Is this a change not corrected by addendum or change notice in the Directive?

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Aircraft can contact approach 65NM out or less, but it should be 50NM.

I believe the problem is not with the distance side. The main problem is altitude. There are system limits for how far you can contact approach, tower, etc. When I’m controlling approach, I see way too many people call in when they’re at 20,000ft or more, sometimes even at FL300. People need to start planning their descent better. There are countless tutorials on the Internet. Simply google TOD will come up with how to calculate it. You can tune in approach when system allows to tune in, but please descend earlier. Tune in when you are below 18,000ft AAL.


@RTG113. MaxSez: “Should”! If 50nm is now the correct procedure a change to the Manual is required. Radar Controllers should abide by the Directive. Deviation, opinions ect. from written guidance causes confusion for all concerned. What correct?

That’s for reminding

@Leonard.Brownies… MaxSez: Opinions! The ATC Manual is the Gospel! The Manual has no fixed altitude guidance that I noted. Max

The manual is pretty much an ATC guidance, not a pilot guidance. It has mentioned initial altitudes that the ATC should send to the aircrafts inbound, however not for descent planning stuff. The best way for pilots to figure out how to plan their descent is still to check #tutorials .

@Leonard.Brownies… As a former Pilot I’m well versed in the AIM in the RW… The Pilot who fails to fully understand the “System” to include its reginal and game deviations from the norm is ill l prepared to venture forth on any Airways. The (sanitized) IF ATC Manual is publisher and available in the archive and IF Pilots Particularly should study it.

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Hey Max, after consulting with Tyler, aircraft are allowed to call in further than 50NM, generally use 50NM as a rule of thumb.

Thanks for bringing it up!

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